Since gracing the shores of Australia all the way from bonnie Scotland in December 2018, Nathan has found himself thrust into the Australian media landscape at the forefront of PR and marketing activities for a diverse range of clients. Similar to ‘back home’, Nathan has consulted, strategised and implemented campaigns for clients that share similar PR goals on the corporate sphere - including the likes of Australian and Scottish Government and local council projects, Scottish Water and Australian Information Industry Association. Agency life has always called to Nathan, having worked for the UK’s largest PR and digital marketing agency outside of London before leading an Edinburgh-based content marketing and PR agency. He now finds himself at Thrive with an eye on continuing to offer Thrive’s corporate clients a complete integrated approach including corporate comms / issues management with acknowledgement to digital, content and social amplification techniques.
From a communications perspective, what do you think differentiates organisations who are managing the COVID-19 situation well versus those who are struggling?
It’s precisely that: communication. Brands that are not leaving their customers, staff and stakeholders in the cold, clueless to what is going on. The brands that are owning it are on the front foot, speaking to their customers through a variety of channels, commanding the narrative, and not leaving the recipient to guess what is happening. Ultimately, it comes down to building that trust, earned through rigorous and thoughtful communications work. In more detail, brands that are owning their comms during COVID-19 are looking at the PESO model (Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned media). Using this integrated approach to reach all parties through prefered channels. May it be updates on social media, a statement from the CEO on a designated and UX-considered web page, news release on company updates to media or a paid media partnership offering guidance to customers. Applying this holistic approach to thinking, positions brands responding to COVID-19 at the forefront of their competitors - owning the narrative, being transparent with their customers and building on that trust through a tough and challenging time.
What do you think organisations need to prioritise at this time when it comes to their communications?
Organisations need to, if they haven’t already, understand where they themselves fit during this pandemic - understanding policies and government regulation might change daily. Your stakeholders deserve to hear from you and need to know where they stand. Use this opportunity to own your Owned and Shared channels. Have a designated section on your website with your statement on COVID-19 and guidance for customers. Leave it free of jargon and complication, and have a designated customer service team in place to speak to them - be it a 24/7 phone line or website chatbot. With policy updates occuring often about COVID-19 this may affect your standing and business offer. Keep your customers updated with newsletters (not daily), website and social media updates. Newsletters show an outreach approach, while social media and your website adheres to inbound enquiries. It’s important at this time to be a source of truth and guidance for everyone associated with your organisation.
What do you most enjoy about working on corporate comms/issues for clients?
I enjoy fully immersing myself in the client’s business. Understanding the ins and outs of how they operate, goals and aspirations, and showing a genuine interest in how business is ticking over. Even though we are employed to offer PR services, I like to know how that is translated into success - usually by business growth, revenue, staffing numbers.
And that’s sometimes a misconception on the clients behalf, corporate comms is about sharing updates and insight into your business. What you might not think is news might well be.
Have you hired a raft or new staff lately to keep up with business - news
Have you acquired and absorbed another business to offer a new service - news
Won an award that is highlight recognised in your field - news
When we start sharing these news pieces with the media we begin to start a relationship. When these relationships grow it helps us position the brand as a recognised voice in it’s field - especially through additional media relations opportunities like thought leadership and comment seeding. As a bonus, typically stakeholders and investors will start to get happier too.
And usually, when issues / crises arise, having those relationships that have grown, allows us the chance to call on them and offer concise council.